DEEP ISSUES | Research bodies turning to technology to reverse decline of deep-level mining

William Joughin
Friday, April 5, 2019
First presented: 
Engineering News and Mining Weekly
Rock Mechanics

The Outlook for South Africa's deep-level mining sector over the next ten years is bleak should there be no drastic change in the way this type of mining is conducted, comments Mandela Mining Precinct co-director Navin Singh.

This is because of challenges around operating costs and safety of personnel, says South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy council member William Joughin, adding that the ongoing pressure to improve safety requires a reduction in exposure of personnel at the face, which is difficult to achieve without introducing new technologies.

Deep-level gold and platinum miners were dealt another blow last month, when the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approved State-owned power untility Eskom's electricity tariff increases, including a 13.8% hike to be implemented from April 1.

Minerals Council South Africa noted that, as many gold and platinum mines ere already unprofitable or marginal, with electricity comprising about 25% and 17% of gold and platinum mines' cash production costs respectively, the deep-level sector would decline further as a result of Nersa's approval.

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